Sexuality - Kissing, dating and physical attraction
Everyone gets crushes on other people at some point in their lives. The truth is adults and even little kids can get crushes. But due to the rush of hormones that seem to "take over" young adults, crushes get really intense at the start of puberty. A crush is simply the feeling of really admiring, being attracted to, or liking someone. Both boys and girls have crushes; crushes are a fun and safe way for young people to explore their emerging sexuality, even though it doesn't always feel fun when feelings for another person are not returned. That's why they are called "crushes." The crushee can feel crushed if his or her feelings don't lead to a real romantic relationship.
There are a lot of different kinds of crushes. People get crushes on their teachers, movie stars, or people in older grades at school. People get crushes on friends of their older brothers or sisters. What do all of these kinds of crushes have in common? The objects of the crush are unattainable. That means that they are out of bounds, or aren't actual possibilities for dating because of a significant age difference or, in the case of movie stars, someone the crushee might never meet. Crushes on unattainable people are healthy
and normal. As long as a crush doesn't become an obsession (thoughts that occupy the mind continually), people should enjoy their secret feelings.
Dating is when two people take a romantic interest in one another and spend time together going to movies, or to dances, or any number of places. Some kids and teens, and even some adults don't always like to use the term "dating" because it sounds too formal. Instead of dating, it may be referred to as people just kind of "hanging out" with each other. A girl might like a boy and then find out that he likes her, too. Then, she might spend time or talk on the phone with him and get to know him better. Over time, they might become boyfriend and girlfriend. If they go somewhere together, like to the movies or to dinner, they might consider that a date, but the whole process usually isn't treated as formally as it was in the past.
Kissing is fun and, as with many things, can be perfected with practice. Lots of teens are terrified that they will end up being bad kissers, but by relaxing and doing what comes naturally most teens find that there is no such thing as a "bad" kisser. French kissing is kissing with an opened mouth and exploring one's partner's mouth with the tongue. Kissing is a great way for two people to show their feelings toward one another without going too far. In fact, some people feel kissing can often be more intimate than the act of sexual intercourse.
Petting is another term for "fooling around" or "hooking up." This is what happens when couples go beyond kissing. Petting is touching one's partner's body but not having intercourse. Clothes may be kept on during petting. However, heavy petting can advance to the stage when clothing is removed. Such petting can include oral sex and touching of the genital area and the breasts. It can arouse very strong sexual responses, including orgasm. As always, consent (permission or agreement) between the two people is really important. If one person has any reservations about progressing, something should be said. It's better to say Stop than to regret going too far.
Intimacy, or closeness, can be shared with someone without sharing a physical relationship. Really liking someone doesn't necessarily mean that a physical relationship is possible or even necessary. Emotional intimacy—being able to share personal feelings and thoughts—should go hand-in-hand with sharing physical intimacy. Anyone who is uncertain about taking a relationship to a physical level shouldn't do so. Often, people can share a deeper connection and more true intimacy by keeping their clothes on and finding out about a person through communication.
Homosexuality, or being gay, is when a person has sexual feelings for someone of the same sex (heterosexuality is the term used for those who have sexual feelings for people of the opposite sex). It is perfectly normal to have a crush on someone of the same sex, particularly in the teen years. Many people have feelings for people of the same sex. Boy or girl, it's normal to feel deep affection for friends. For example, many females are very affectionate with one another. Does this mean that they are gay? Not necessarily. Many teenagers have anxiety about being gay. This is probably because homosexuality is often viewed negatively in American society. It's common to have sexual feelings or sexual dreams about people of the same sex. Many young people panic when this happens and wonder if they are gay. Consistent sexual feelings about people of the same sex and attraction can indicate homosexuality. These are normal feelings, too.
Bisexuality is defined as attraction to and/or engaging in sexual relations with people of both sexes. Many people experiment sexually with people of both sexes. Experimenting or the temptation to do so does not necessarily make a person bisexual or homosexual. Rather, this is merely an indication of curiosity.
Some people think that those who define themselves as bisexual are just extremely open-minded and sexually free. But many bisexuals themselves often disagree. They say that they are bisexual not by choice, but because of their biology. Bisexuality is often harder to figure out, at least for young people, than homosexuality. Any teen who has such concerns should talk openly with a trusted friend, relative, or counselor to help them sort out their feelings.